Best Hotels within Easy Reach of Rio de Janeiro Airports



Rio de Janeiro hotels tend to be expensive, and the high prices are not always matched by high quality. This is especially true of hotels close to the international airport - known as Galeao -  where the out-of-town location means that options are few and prices are high.

Slick 2014 arrival Linx Hotel International Airport raised the bar with its infinity pool and stellar service, but elsewhere the options are little to get excited about. 

The domestic airport, Tom Jobim, fares  better - it's close to the business district with its solid accommodation options, with major hotel chains such as Ibis and Novotel offering decent lodgings at prices that are fair by Rio standards. These downtown hotels are also close to some major sights, and the lively nightlife of Lapa, and partiers looking for a place to lay their head will find a lively scene at the budget-friendly Lapa Hostel

Those looking for something with a little more charm will find lovely guest houses and boutique hotels close by in Santa Teresa, a historic neighborhood that is around 15 minutes´cab ride from the domestic airport and 30-40 minutes´cab ride from the international airport. Here, we highly recommend Hotel Santa Teresa and Mama Ruisa.



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Rio de Janeiro may be synonymous with beaches, but savvy visitors to the city are increasingly venturing inland and up into the hills of Santa Teresa. This luxury hotel, complete with palm-fringed pool and acclaimed French restaurant, cemented Santa Teresa's reputation as a major tourist destination when it opened in 2009, and gained worldwide attention when Amy Winehouse made her base here during her 2011 tour of Brazil. It's now managed by Sofitel, but maintains a boutique feel. The artsy neighborhood is chock full of handicrafts stores and vintage clothing outlets, and its drinking and dining scene is one of the most celebrated in the city.


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Affordably-priced by Rio standards, this recently-renovated hotel is located in the middle-class residential neighborhood of Flamengo. Close to Flamengo beach and Sugar Loaf mountain, the hotel is within easy reach of all Rio´s attractions. The beaches of the Zona Sul, party district of Lapa and historic centre of downtown are all just a few minutes´away by bus or Metro, while Maracana stadium is also within easy reach. Flamengo itself is well-equipped with bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, while attractions such as Palacio de Catete and Flamengo Park are very close to the hotel. A solid mid-range option at the heart of Rio.


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This smart downtown business hotel offers accommodations that are affordable by local standards. While rooms are small,they are modern and well-appointed. The hotel has a rooftop pool, fitness centre and offers a good buffet breakfast, and is close to downtown´s major sites such as the imposing Teatro Municipal and a host of museums, churches and galleries. The lively nightlife of Lapa is within a short walk or cab ride, while nearby Metro stations make it easy to reach the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema as well as Maracana Soccer Stadium. The historic hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa is a short bus ride away.


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Mama Ruisa
Photo courtesy of Aforondo/Flickr


 

French chic meets Brazilian cool at this super-stylish hillside hideaway in Santa Teresa. The vast colonial mansion sits in verdant gardens complete with large swimming pool, and the French owners have upped the wow factor still further with interiors that have more than a dash of panache. Each of the suites is unique in layout and decor, and the lavish breakfasts served outside under the trees are something to be savored for as long as possible. With a poolside setting this beautiful, you may find yourself spending a lot less time on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana than you had imagined.


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One of two hotels at Rio de Janeiro´s international airport, Hotel Pousada Galeao scores points for its practical location if not for its decor or pricing. As the international airport is located some distance from Rio´s beaches and tourist attractions, this is not a good base for a longer stay in Rio, but for a one-night airport stop over it is a convenient, if costly, option. There is practically nothing to see or do in the immediate vicinity of the international airport, so this is very much a place to rest up before or after a flight - bring a good book.


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Lapa Hostel
Photo courtesy of Daniel J.Hoffman


 

If you want to be right at the heart of Rio de Janeiro's nightlife action, Lapa is the place to be. Even if you decide to make your base at the beach in Ipanema or Copacabana, booking a bed at Lapa Hostel can work out cheaper than taking a cab ride home. Funky furnishings, decent air conditioning and comfortable beds make this a good option for anyone on a really tight budget, and the hostel is close to the many museums, galleries and historic buildings of down town Rio as well as to the hedonistic pleasures of Lapa's nightlife scene.


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Rio de Janeiro lodgings are a hit and miss affair, so it can be a comfort for visitors to the city to know what to expect from their hotel. Novotel Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont offers the same basic but comfortable accommodations as it offers in cities across the globe. This being Rio - a city notorious for its high hotel prices - the room rate may raise an eyebrow, but is actually reasonable for dependable lodgings in the city. The airport is well-located for the domestic airport and close to the city´s financial district, making it a favorite among business travelers visiting Rio.


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Located close to Rio´s domestic airport and facing Sugar Loaf mountain, this historic hotel is one of the oldest in the city, which is a plus point for some guests and a negative point for others. The antique, manually-operated elevator is an opinion-dividing point of attention, as are the aged fixtures and fittings. The location is handy for the metro and downtown sightseeing as well as the airport, and the hotel is also within a short walk or bus ride of the lively Lapa nightlife district. Cabs are advisable late at night). It´s not luxurious, but it does have some historic charm.


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Regular Ibis guests will know the drill here. Rooms at the Ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont hotel follow the usual setup - small, basic, but clean rooms; breakfast not included, no frills but a comfortable stay for a reasonable price. In a city of very expensive hotels, Ibis benefits from being a dependable option that won´t blow the travel budget, and its location close to the domestic airport, Tom Jobim, is a blessing for anybody flying in or out of the city centre. The many and varied charms of downtown Rio - including but not limited to imposing churches, interesting cultural centers, the city´s oldest street and very lively nightlife - are all close by, too.


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A decent hotel by any standards, Linx Hotel International Airport Galeao has raised the bar for airport accommodation in Rio, which has long been lacklustre. The style is minimalist-chic, but the infinity pool gives a touch of glamor to the proceedings. And the small bar is a pleasant place to while away an evening at the international airport, which is a long way from Rio´s tourist attractions and nightlife. Services are good, with a free shuttle service to and from the aiport itself - look for the Linx desk at Arrivals and use the free phoneline to book your shuttle. Staff speak English and are helpful.


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Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.

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